D-Day 70th anniversary: Trevor Beattie, the ad man who helped hundreds of veterans get to Normandy

 

The advertising guru who created campaigns for Wonderbra and New Labour is the unlikely figure who has helped hundred of Normandy veterans return to France for the D-Day commemorations, for what may be the last time.

Trevor Beattie set up a charity to support the veterans after reading a 2008 front-page story in The Independent about how many could not afford to return for the 65th anniversary in 2009. At the time, the government offered little funding for veterans to return to former war zones except for 50th and 100th anniversaries.

Mr Beattie felt he could help the “living heroes” and he teamed up with the comedian Eddie Izzard to raise close to £500,000. That helped more than 800 veterans to attend the 65th anniversary.

The advertising man from Birmingham gave £30,000 of his own money to help  veterans from the Midlands to travel in 2009. In 2010, he set up the Jack and Ada Beattie Foundation – named after his late parents – and used his celebrity connections to stage fundraisers, including a dinner last weekend aboard HMS Belfast in London.

Mr Beattie, who was in Normandy yesterday, said the 70th anniversary had special significance because the Normandy Veterans Association will be disbanded at the end of the year. “A lot of them are hanging on for this,” he added.

 

He said part of the reason he was so moved by The Independent’s 2008 article was because it was published in a paper that does not have a jingoistic reputation. “What I loved was that it was written by The Independent — not by the Telegraph or the Mail or The Guardian – and it managed to do it without using the phrase ‘Our Boys’ in the headline,” said Mr Beattie. “It was a calm, respectful piece.”

The Government and the National Lottery have provided greater support for the 70th anniversary.

Mr Beattie admitted his involvement might seem surprising, given some of his controversial work, such as the Labour election poster he designed that merged the faces of William Hague and Margaret Thatcher. “I’m very ‘Bob Geldof’ about D-Day,” he explained. “The stuff I’ve done in advertising is no big deal. It’s just made people sit up and take notice and sell a few things. I’ve tried to use the same skills for D-Day.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Recruitment Genius: Project Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This privately-owned company designs and manuf...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources Officer

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen at th...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - London - £40,000 + Bonus

£36000 - £40000 per annum + Bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...